Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Summer in Japan - a couple of hints - something practical for the incoming JETs

So, it is pretty much summer here in Japan. I believe that it is still suppose to be the rainy season, but including today we've had 3 fine days. You know when it is summer when your on the way to school in the morning and you think it would be a great idea to go for a dip in that small river next to school. When you are hoping that the bus gets here quicker so you can sit/stand in the nice air conditioned interior. When half of the English department goes for a mission to the closest supermarket for icecream.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

The photos that I promised recently and more

Ok, so here are some recent photos from around Nagasaki, Japan. Also include photos of Hotaru (fireflies), and Kousoutai (High school sports meeting).

Nagasaki - China Town

Nagasaki - down town

Karate sparring - Kousoutai

A dam not far from Nagasaki. This is where the firefly live.

Hotaru are hard to photograph!

A Japanese girl managed to catch one

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The event called Hotaru ホタル in Japan (fireflies)

One thing that I love about Japan is that it seems to have a season or time during the year for everything. Sakura (cherry blossom) in spring, maple leaves and colour in autumn, Hotaru in the rainy season, etc, etc. I live in Nagasaki, a small city, but it has a fair share of its own events, some of which are famous around Japan (e.g. Lantern Festival).

Anyway, last night I went to see about the 蛍、ホタル、Hotaru (fireflies) around Nagasaki. In fact, I found that Nagasaki has a website setup for giving Hotaru reports (check out other locations around Japan here). So the fireflies are doing their glowing, dancing business from the end of May to mid June. Some famous spots will also have a Hotaru Matsuri (Firefly festival). 

Personally, I loved seeing these things floating around, giving off a kind of magical feeling. The best moments are when you get a good view down the river/stream and see like a tunnel of glowing, pulsating orbs swirling around.  These things were tricky to photograph but I got 1 or 2 keepers that'll i'll post up later.

Any way, cheers, these critters are still about for a bit longer, so get out and see them if you can ;)

Monday, 6 June 2011

Prefectural high school games - kousoutai 高総体

Hey there, long time no post.
So as I have said through some of my posts, working at schools in Japan is not only about the classes. There are many events through the year. At different times in the year, you may feel like you're attending more events than actual classes. One of these events in high school is Kousoutai 高総体 (high school athletic meeting). This event (in Nagasaki prefecture anyway) is prefectural. That means all the high schools in Nagasaki-ken (prefecture) have to compete against each other in different sports.

This event is quite big. The sports are played in various high schools and sports grounds around the prefecture. Usually it has a city that it is based in, but the events are held in various places. During this time students either participate or cheer on their fellow students. There are no classes, but there is no stay at home option ;) Students are given tickets they must hand to teachers to show they had attended the event to support their high school. Though in reality they only needed to hand them in and then leave, but the many I saw enjoyed watching the sport. Same goes for the teachers (including me), we had to attend. However, teachers don't need to hand in tickets. The Kousoutai takes place over about a week, and narrows down to the winning high school sports teams.

I quite enjoyed the Kousoutai. It is quite a nice time of the year for it to be held. Now it has just entered the rainy season, so the days are warm, but not too hot like summer. I, myself, went to watch Karate on the first day, and then swimming and volleyball on the second day. The atmosphere of the city changes a bit with all the highschool students out in groups wearing uniform. It was an interesting day, meeting students, walking around, watching sport, relaxing, etc.

Well just a quick post explaining the event. Might put some pictures/video of some sports later. Cheers.